The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers both enter the NBA offseason with a need to turn things around in a hurry. With a need to quickly build around James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, could Paul George or Russell Westbrook end up playing elsewhere next season?
According to Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, the Clippers and Rockets have conducted ‘preliminary’ talks for a trade centered around George and Westbrook. The discussions also included Robert Covington and a 2023 1st round selection headed to Los Angeles.
There is legitimate rationale regarding why a trade could work for both the Clippers and Rockets. There isn’t enough facilitation with a Leonard-George duo without a floor general point guard. Meanwhile, a Harden-Westbrook tandem has too much overlap in the ball handling department without enough off-ball impact.
Paul George put together an All-NBA First-Team season playing alongside Westbrook because his ability to create shots for teammates helped let the game come to him more. That’s something Harden brings to the table while Leonard isn’t a premier playmaker in that regard.
For George, he must improve his efficiency in shot creation because he had a legitimately down year in key areas. James Harden can handle an ultra high-usage role in this area, but George needs to be able to provide relief throughout the course of an NBA playoff series.
Russell Westbrook could handle the primary ball handling role with the Clippers and alleviate pressure from Kawhi Leonard in ways George is unable. However, the limitations to Westbrook’s jump ability does raise concerns, nevertheless.
It remains to be seen what the likelihood of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers actually executing an NBA blockbuster trade of this kind. Both teams have the clock working against them, so bold action could be taken to achieve necessarily results.
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